Latin America is a large region with many nuances. I am married to a person from Mexico, and I am Ecuadorian. When we met, I said I loved eating "choclos," which in Ecuador means “corn.” She looked at me, baffled, and said: "You like eating shoes?" We start with this story to illustrate how nuance plays a role even between two people from different countries in Latin America.
Latin America is very nuanced
The family-forming and fertility care landscape in Latin America is, in some ways, similar to the example above. Here are some essential points that affect family-forming and fertility care in Latin America:
- Exchange rates: With the U.S. dollar strengthening, expect more demand for cross-border fertility care in countries where their currency has weakened. Countries like Argentina and Colombia have seen a significant devaluation of their currency vs. the U.S. dollar in the last few years. Latin American currencies are very volatile, and, in most cases, countries use their value against the U.S. dollar as a critical metric of economic health.
- Regulatory landscape: There is not a lot of consistency across the region. For example, Uruguay has very clear laws and regulations around fertility care, while in the Dominican Republic, no IVF regulation currently exists.
- Language: Most people think "Spanish" when hearing Latin America, but let's not forget that people speak mainly Portuguese in the largest country in Latin America, Brazil. Also, the Spanish language has different variants, so the Spanish spoken in Ecuador varies from Spanish in Mexico, as illustrated at the beginning of this article.
- Cultural: There are a wide variety of cultural nuances in Latin America. There are remarkably progressive countries like Uruguay, where the LGBTQ+ community is accepted, there are clear fertility care regulations, and same-sex marriage is legal. On the flip side, many countries in the region are not entirely progressive. For example, in a less progressive country, fertility treatments are usually advertised in the context of a heterosexual couple. These countries may show little acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and some even the prohibit same-sex marriages.
Key Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) numbers in Latin America
The latest Assisted Reproductive Technologies report by the Latin American Network of Assisted Reproduction (REDLARA), which includes 80% of all ART cycles in Latin America in 2019, shows some interesting findings:
- A 3% increase in the number of reported ART procedures vs. the previous year (106,918 vs. 104,169).
- 74.4% of women using ART were 35 years old or older. This compared to 63% in 2010.
- The proportion of Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET) over fresh transfers continues to rise, from 18% in 2009 to 61.4% in 2019.
Carrot in Latin America
We have a dedicated team supporting our infrastructure in Latin America, with a deep understanding and connection to the region. Carrot is currently available in ten countries throughout Latin America. We offer a robust network of nearly 300 eligible providers that our members can use during their family-forming journey. Carrot covers all family-forming paths in Latin America, including preservation, low and high complexity fertility treatments (IUI, IVF), adoption, and gestational carrier services* (*where adequately regulated). We are also onboarding Carrot Partners in Mexico and Brazil, which will deliver additional value to our clients and members soon.
Most of our members in Latin America reside in Brazil. Of the nearly 300 eligible providers in Latin America, over 100 are in Brazil. Carrot offers coverage in 12 Brazilian states, including most high-population centers across the country. Carrot covers all family-forming paths mentioned above. We also have local resources on the ground to offer additional support and assistance, and we will be adding Carrot Partners, where members can receive discounts and other perks, to this market this year.
Interest in fertility care and assisted reproductive techniques are growing rapidly in Brazil. In fact, in 2018, every 15 minutes, a baby was born in Brazil with the support of ART. While the development of ART in Brazil was first marked by a context of minimal regulation, guidelines have been established by the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) since the early 1990s to safeguard ART practices and create ethical norms and rules.
While Brazil’s universal healthcare system, Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), offers fertility care, access can be limited since there are only a handful of SUS-dependent fertility centers in certain regions of the country, and waitlists can be rather long. Initiatives to continue regulating the use of ART have progressed in Brazil since the number of private clinics has boomed, alongside the formation of several fertility societies such as Associação Brasileira de Reprodução Assistida and FEBRASGO. Furthermore, in 2005, the Ministry of Health’s regulatory agency, ANVISA, created a national compulsory registry of stem cells, tissues, banks, and embryos created via IVF. Carrot’s dedicated team carries out a thorough vetting process of every eligible provider to guarantee our members access to the region's highest quality of fertility care.
If you want to learn more about Carrot, please get in touch with our team.